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Should You Have a Mobile Responsive Website?

Posted by Dane Petersen on Jun 18, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Should you have a mobile responsive website? Absolutely.

WebsiteInfographic_1This may or may not be surprising, but most businesses have not yet moved to mobile, and that could hurt their existing client base or potential new clients. Over 20% of all Google searches come from a mobile device. Responsive mobile website design allows you to have one website that is coded to dynamically change its design based on what type of device it is viewed on (pc, tablet, mobile phone etc.). This allows your website to reach as many users as possible.

Here are a few more reasons why it is essential for your website to be mobile ready:

1. Your website will be adaptive for future devices. Mobile responsive design is based on Media Queries which allow the developer to code your website to adapt to multiple screen resolutions.

2. Mobile sites provide users with the best user experience. I’m sure we have all run into a website that is not optimized for mobile, and have found it difficult or even impossible to access the information we are looking for, driving us to look for that same information elsewhere. Giving your user base an easy way to access the information will give your users the trust in your business to keep returning. It also shows your clients that you care about their experience.

3. Google may penalize you for not having a mobile responsive website. They have noticed the trend that users are more likely to view your website on a mobile device than ever before. Having the mobile version of your website will lead to better search rankings, giving your website more exposure.

"To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users."
-Yoshikiyo Kato, Software Engineer, on behalf of Google Mobile Search Team

4. If your competition has a mobile version of their website this could potentially lead to loss of clientele. Over 60% of mobile users say that they will never return to a website as long as they are not provided with an easy to use experience on their mobile devices.

5. Having a mobile responsive website allows you to only edit once, and will display on all devices.This makes it even easier to individually manage your the content.

At Network Center, Inc., we strive to provide websites with the best possible user experience whether it's on a desktop or a mobile device. Please contact us for further information on building a mobile responsive website.

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Topics: Mobility, Interactive Services, Mobile Friendly Websites, Mobile Responsive Website

Exploring Mobility, the Cloud, and Analytics

Posted by Brett Anderson on Feb 27, 2015 4:21:00 PM

It’s an exciting time to be in technology! With new advancements each year, we are seeing increasing productivity, decreasing costs and many new ways to interact with customers. As these new technologies become more mature, their credibility increases and their usefulness in everyday business grows. Looking out into 2015, Network Center, Inc. is excited about 3 technologies in particular, and we encourage our customers to explore how they can make a difference in their business. Although Mobility, Cloud and Analytics have been around for many years, we believe they have grown in their features and practical uses. These three technologies will play an even larger role in 2015 and beyond. Here are a few of our thoughts in these areas.

mobility-1024x572Mobility

The use of mobile devices (tablets and phones) to drive productivity has gained popularity over the past several years. The reality is mobility is a two-sided coin and both sides of the coin need to be understood before you can embrace all that a mobile strategy can do for your business. The first consideration is related to productivity. How can you maximize your workforce via mobile devices? Allowing employees to access corporate email on their mobile devices is the easiest way to drive productivity, but everyone is doing this. How do you set yourself apart from your competition?  How can you make a difference in your employees’ success? How can you improve on the customer experience? These three questions can help you craft ideas that really make a difference. For instance, do you need an app with sales information? Or maybe a secure, responsive intranet site for inventory or scheduling details? There are many ways to leverage a mobile device to empower your employees and differentiate yourself from your competitors. Network Center, Inc. encourages you to build a strategy that fits your business!

The second consideration is the risk associated with allowing company resources to be accessed via mobile devices. What if the device is lost or stolen? What if there isn’t a passcode on the device? What if there are documents stored locally? What if the applications on the device have loose security? How do you mitigate these risks? The best way to address this is with an ‘insurance policy’ – a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution can help you mitigate these risks. There are many MDM solutions in the market, but we can help you choose one that is a good fit for your needs.

shutterstock_105420140Cloud

If you have heard a few of us at Network Center, Inc. talk about “The Cloud”, you’ve probably heard a little sarcasm in our voice when we use that word – people are using the term “Cloud” to mean everything but nothing in particular. We’ve been fortunate enough to have many great clients who have embraced the cloud at varying levels. And this is really the power of the cloud – being able to choose what makes the most sense for your organization. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution but rather a fully customizable palette you can choose from. A few of these scenarios we have helped our customers with include: 

  1. Moving servers, compute and infrastructure offsite
  2. Leveraging productivity-based software in the cloud
  3. Building a business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR) solution
  4. Mitigating connectivity or other soft issues
  5. Addressing cyclical and seasonal needs with scalable solutions

There are so many benefits to moving pieces of your business to the cloud. We encourage you to talk with Network Center, Inc. to see how the cloud can save you money, drive productivity and reduce risk. 

analyticsAnalytics

If you attended nVision 2014 you heard me talk about the power of analytics. I call it one of the most impactful yet underused technologies of the past 10 years. The best way to define the concept of analytics is to describe its benefits:

  1. Self-service: Easy to use and does not require a report writing expert.  If you can use Excel you can leverage analytics.
  2. Interactive: You can ask questions of the data, build variations of reports and be more analytical without writing new reports from scratch.
  3. Predictive: Analytics can be used in trending and predicting!
  4. Distributable: Rather than sending out large files, analytic solutions are based on reports that link back to the server data.

Many of our customers define Analytics as a game changer. If you want to learn how analytics can change your business, talk to your Network Center, Inc. representative. We at Network Center, Inc. are excited for what's to come, and we challenge our customers to do great things.

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Topics: Mobility, Website Analytics, Mobile Device Management, Interactive Services, Cloud Services, Analytics

The Mobile Office-How Mobile Are You?

Posted by Jon Ryan on Dec 19, 2014 3:00:00 PM

jon_1Many of us have an idea in our mind about what it means to be mobile. Back in the day, the advent of pagers and bag phones for your car meant ultimate mobility. Obviously a lot has changed in technology over the years. How do these advancements change your impression of being mobile? Let’s take a look at modern mobility and exactly just how mobile your “mobile office” really is.

Defining the Mobile Office

There is no defined parameters to describe the mobile office. Software vendors will each have different ideas of what it means, mainly to help pitch whatever product they are developing. Some people think if they can just see their work email on their phone, that’s enough to have a mobile office. But the truth of the matter is you define what qualifies as your mobile office. Through the wonders of modern computing and the development of high performance wireless networks, you can take more of your office with you than you may think. 

Technimonolgy

Clearly a misspelling of technology. But for some businesses, spelling out the usage of mobile technology is difficult. What is available? What will my employees be able to access? How will they use it? What risks are there once that information is accessible outside of my network? Is all the work even going to make my business more successful? All very good questions. Let’s take a look at what is available. You can’t use a tool if you don’t know it exists. We’ll break these up into categories.

Mobile Computing – “How can I do business when I’m on the road?” Mobile computing is not limited to just cell phone use. You can deploy Microsoft Office365 or Google Apps for business. These applications and services can be used on mobile devices, tablets, and laptops anywhere you can get on the internet. Mobile sharing of documents is becoming very popular. 

Mobile ERP, Order Processing, and Analytics – “Mobile sharing of documents and communication is nice, but I’d like to make decisions on the ERP side.” You’ll be surprised to know that most newer ERP solutions have mobile capabilities. Review orders, check labor scheduling, look at sales forecasting, and resource planning all from your mobile device. With sign in authentication you can take a look inside your network and operations securely. And if your current ERP solution doesn’t have a mobile app, that’s ok, we can build you one.

Mobile Communication – Ok, we aren’t just talking about using a cell phone to call someone. Clearly we all know the options we have there. Some phone systems allow users to not only forward their desk phone to their cell phone but also give you advanced communication options. Through technology like Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager you can receive direct calls to your cell phone, hiding your personal cell phone number from the caller. And that’s not all. Both the Cisco Jabber client and Microsoft Lync can provide presence and chatting through mobile devices.

Mobile Infrastructure Administration – How would you like to see the health of your network from anywhere around the world? Well, it’s more than possible. Remote management and monitoring software is available for mobile devices. From getting alerts of network outages to remote management of switches and servers, you can attend that conference in sunny Florida while keeping an eye on things back here in the frozen tundra.

Security

jon_2All of this mobile access is great, but what about security? The most common issues with security are on cell phones or tablets. Products like Maas 360 and Zix One can provide security on company owned or employee owned devices. With Maas 360 you can enforce company policies on devices. If a device becomes lost, you can remotely wipe that device. Zix One handles mobile access by providing a window to access company data. No data physically resides on the device. There are other products out there that enforce security on mobile devices. We can help you find one that fits for you.

Benefits

What do my employees get out of working from a mobile office? Commonly, your biggest hurdle with productivity is when you leave the office. Traveling eats up hundreds of hours of productivity per year for the average company. Providing your employees with a way to continue to be productive while away from the office will lower that number substantially. Being able to work from home, on the road, at a customer site, or anywhere with an internet connection gives your company the advantage of continuing business from anywhere.

For more information on mobility and what it can do for your company, contact NetWork Center, Inc. to meet with one of our Mobility Analysts. And yes, I did write this on my tablet at a local coffee shop.

Contact Us Today!

Topics: Mobility, Mobile Office, Mobile Computing

5 Reasons You Should Use jQuery

Posted by Dane Petersen on Jun 17, 2014 3:00:00 PM

What is Jquery? The official jQuery statement is: “jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development.” It is the most popular cross-platform JavaScript library in use today and was designed to be simple and easy to learn. It also simplifies the client-side HTML scripting. Query is free and open sourced under the MIT License. It was released in 2006 by John Resig and is currently being developed by Dave Methvin. It is used by some of the most visited sites on the Internet and helps developers by decreasing the amount of effort and time. What would take 20+ lines of code in JavaScript can be reduced down into say 5 lines with jQuery.

  1. Jquery is easy to learn, has a very small learning curve, and is very well documented. If you have some knowledge of HTML, JavaScript Jquery should come easily.

  2. Jquery works well with old and new technologies such as HTML 5 and CSS 3. 

  3. Jquery can reduce the time and effort for developers. The following is an example of code differences between JavaScript and jquery. To see a live demonstration of the code below visit https://www.netcenter.net/quick-jquery.html.

    JavaScript

    javascript screenshot (3)
     
    jQuery

    jQuery

  4. Jquery allows users to create animations quickly with less of a learning curve than Adobe Flash. Jquery uses markup technologies such as CSS, HTML, JavScript and AJAX that all work well together. A developer can use these to create effects such as drop down menus, hiding elements, fading elements in and out, and sliding elements around the page. These are just a few of the many effects provided by the jQuery library.

  5. Jquery Mobile allows you to have the same functionality on mobile browsers as you would on the desktop. It also has UI options which enhance a user’s experience on a mobile device. A good example would be the use of an accordion, which takes content and compartmentalizes them into selectable options.

There are other good JavaScript libraries out there such as minified.js. “Minified.js is a client-side JavaScript library that's both powerful and small. It offers jQuery-like features (DOM manipulation, animation, events, HTTP requests) and utility functions (collections, date & number formatting, date arithmetic, templates) with a single, consistent API."

Deciding to use a JavaScript library like jQuery is up to the developer and the project demands. Jquery is quick and efficient while reducing developers’ effort and time, and is compatible with older browsers while still working with the newest technologies. Contact NetWork Center, Inc. today if you have any questions.

Contact Us Today!

Topics: Technology Solutions, Mobile App Development, Mobility, Application Development, Developers

BYOD: The Wild West of WiFi

Posted by Jason Keller on Feb 24, 2014 5:05:00 PM

wifiHave you ever wondered why your wireless connectivity was so poor at your last meeting? Do you suffer from chronic connectivity problems at hotels? Has your own wireless become frustratingly unusable?

Welcome to the Wild West of WiFi. Everyone can play, no matter their skill level or impact to your sanity. All it takes is a single trip to Best Buy, a misguided store associate, and a lazy Saturday to bodge together a smoldering wreck that will ruin your weekend, anger your wife, and elicit howls of disgust from your teenagers. Or worse, your customers and coworkers will be at the receiving end of a similar lapse in judgment. Increasingly, I have been seeing more and more home-grade networking gear in environments that they were never designed for nor are capable of effectively operating in. If that wasn’t bad enough, many are so woefully misconfigured that it’s a wonder that the end stations even see the beacons. When it comes to wireless networking, you’re not just bringing your own devices - you’re building your own disaster. Instead of enhancing your services (and your company image), clients and employees alike are furious because of unstable, unusable connections. All hope is lost, and all your time and money sunk into it is for naught. The whole deployment becomes counterproductive.

wifiHow did it get there? Let’s think about it. First, home grade (or as they frequently like to call them “small business”) access points don’t generally handle more than a handful of clients, and usually within a closer radius. They’re built with cheap radios with insensitive receivers, often using lower gain antennas because they are designed to be standalone in radio-quiet environments in a small cell radius. The cheaper ones are 2.4GHz only, while the higher end ones are dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Most are simply incapable of dealing with the growing chorus of additional access points and interference sources in their midst.

Enterprise grade wireless isn’t cheap for a reason. They’re built to blanket whole facilities, allowing you to roam freely while you remain connected seamlessly as you walk about the structure. Often they are built to function in multiple bands, identify and report interference sources, and have highly sensitive receivers coupled with equally powerful transmitters. They make tactical use of diversity and additional spatial streams to weed out interference and distortions while also boosting their transmission speeds. Wireless QoS for voice and streaming deployments, beam forming to further improve signal quality and range, and mesh uplink configurations for hard to reach areas - the list goes on and on. You have hundreds of reasons to go enterprise grade, and far more reasons to let the professionals spec and configure it.

wireless networkI’ve heard from several customers after a successful wireless deployment project that they never realized just how complicated it is, and just how much work goes into it. Proper channel spacing and access point overlap are critical to good roaming experience. Knowing when you need higher transmit power and when you need lower transmit power can make all the difference for your connection stability, creating a stable connection where others will randomly stall and drop. Spectrum planning is crucial for projects large and small, and knowing the regulations of each of the bands can give you a tactical advantage that will pay dividends for years to come. Identifying environmental interference sources can save you a lot of headache as well.

The most important part of wireless deployments is realizing that none of this exists in a vacuum. Everything you do impacts not only your system, but potentially others. Devices that you don’t think can interfere with wireless can, and often do. Microwaves, cordless headsets, bluetooth devices, cordless phones, radar, and above all, other WiFi access points.

Are you looking at deploying WiFi infrastructure for your organization? Don’t build a disaster.  Contact NetWork Center, Inc. and let the professionals help make your vision a reality.

Contact NetWork Center, Inc. 

 

 

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Network Security, Mobility

Transparent IT - File Sharing in the Mobile Age

Posted by Sean Todd on Jan 17, 2014 4:40:00 PM

enterprise mobile devices 2011As we become a more mobile workforce conducting business outside of the traditional office, intellectual property becomes harder and harder to protect. We no longer only need to worry about encrypting a laptop hard drive or making sure someone has secure access to a server via a VPN so they can access their shared drive, but now we are faced with more avenues outside our physical walls on which our information travels, secured or unsecured.

As business professionals, we can choose to turn a blind eye and assume that our information is secure because we haven’t officially authorized anyone to use something other than their company issued workstation thus eliminating concern. In reality, should we choose to do nothing, we are leaving a gaping hole in our document security as more and more employees are turning to their own consumer technology to conduct everyday business. More than half of a survey of 4000 office workers admitted to working on business content on personal devices. Truly alarming if you think of the implications of losing data on a device on which you have no control. This means statistically speaking, more than 50% of your employees have company information on their personal devices and you can’t do much about it without proper controls in place.

box LogoSo how can we protect this information? The bigger answer includes a multi-tiered approach, but if we are focusing on documents and document sharing alone, then we’ll look at an enterprise grade file sharing service. Insert Box. This enterprise grade file sharing application is easy to setup, deploy, and manage allowing us to effectively and efficiently control access to our beloved documents.

Box has applications for iPhone/iPads, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Mac, and Windows meaning whatever the platform you’ll be sure to get seamless integration translating to less of a learning curve for end users who are already used to this type of technology. Users can sync their documents directly to Box, and immediately have it available on all devices they have registered. From the office to the field and from the field back to the office the data is easily accessible. Even better, you have the ability to control the types of devices, how many per person, and whether or not documents can be downloaded to these devices. If documents are downloadable to mobile devices, you are able to force passcodes on the Box app restricting access to anyone without authorization.

mobile file sharingThere are several ways to share files with third parties. Among them include: sending a hyperlink via email and allow it to be publicly accessible; sending a hyperlink and allow it to be opened via a pre-set passcode you would share; or simply allowing others with Box logins access to the folder or file directly. Of course this is just scratching the surface of the collaboration features available.

Unlike similar competing products, data security considerations are second to none. Your data is encrypted during transit with high-grade SSL and at rest with 256-bit AES. Box data centers are SSAE16 Type II and Safe Harbor certified as well as HIPAA compliant.

In the end, your data is only as safe as the habits of your end users. By providing an easy to use file-sharing solution you encourage your employees to use company adopted applications upon which you have a great deal of control while at the same time preventing IT from becoming a road block to productivity. If you have any questions about mobility solutions or secure file sharing, contact NetWork Center, Inc.

Contact NetWork Center, Inc.

Topics: Technology Solutions, Mobility, Mobile Device Management, Security

Top 10 Reasons to Attend nVision 2013 Technology Conference

Posted by Jon Ryan on Nov 25, 2013 5:03:00 PM

nVision 2013 technology conferenceIf you haven’t decided whether or not you’re attending our nVision Technology Conference this year, here are 10 reasons why you should:

#1 Discuss "Future of Technology"

Meet other IT leaders and business owners from the area and learn more about the Future of Technology. Find out how they have leveraged new technology in order to prepare for the future.

#2 Keynote Speakers from the area’s Top IT Leaders

Attend keynote sessions from 3 of the area’s top companies through the eyes of their IT Leaders. Is your company on the same track for success?

#3 Learn about Next Generation Network Security

Learn about current and future network security trends, and what new technologies are on the horizon to secure your network.

#4 Get Inside the Mind of a Hacker

Find out why hackers target business and how you can protect your intellectual property and other corporate assets. Discover what hackers want, how to keep them out, where they come from, what motivates them and what your best defenses are against them.

#5 Lost in the Cloud?

Get the real information about cloud services and see what’s right for you. Join us to learn more about what “the cloud” means, how our customers are using it, and the decisions that drove them to leveraging the cloud for their business.

#6 Heard of CryptoLocker?

It’s here and hitting companies left and right. Find out what you can do to protect yourself from the data crippling CryptoLocker, the latest in Ransomware.

#7 HIPAA and IT

Are you in compliance? Compliance with government regulations is a priority for healthcare, financial and government organizations. Find out what’s important and what it takes to keep you in compliance.

#8 Mobility 101 - What you Need to Know

Are you managing your mobile task force of devices? Learn how to keep control of your company data when it leaves your office through mobile devices.  

#9 B2B Communication in a Mobile World

It’s not just about checking your email remotely anymore. Now it’s about running an Enterprise level business from the palm of your hand. Find out how to maximize your productivity through mobility.

#10 Network with other Regional Companies

nVision provides a great atmosphere to discuss current topics and technologies with other business people in the area. Meet new people and make connections with other companies from the area.

Experience the excitement and networking opportunities as industry leaders talk about the future of technology and what it means for your business at the 2013 nVision Technology Conference! Register today by click on the register button below. 

Register for nVision 2013

 

nVision 2013 agenda

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobility, technology training, Cloud computing

Wireless Data Security: How to Keep Your Wireless Devices Safe

Posted by Tyler Voegele on Oct 4, 2013 4:00:00 PM

wireless securitySince most of our work is done through wireless technologies like laptops, desktops, tablets, or other mobile devices, they need to be secured just as we take precautions with wired networks. Basic security includes the use of Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs), open or shared-key authentication and optional MAC address authentication. Each of these features has some level of access control and privacy, but they can be compromised by attackers as well.

Basic Security

SSID is a common network name for the Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). By default, most access points broadcast the configured SSID in its beacon. Even if the broadcasting of the SSID is turned off, an attacker can detect the SSID through monitoring on a network. The first step you should always take, whether it is a home or business wireless setup, is to configure the SSID and hide it from broadcasting. When wireless technologies were first developed the need for security created the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol. This was the original encryption protocol developed for wireless networks. WEP encryption can use a pre-shared key to connect to your network. Due to security flaws in this encryption and how easily it can be cracked, it is recommended to use a different encryption. Some WLAN access points support authentication based on the physical address, or MAC address, of the client’s network interface card (NIC). MAC authentication can also be compromised as addresses can be mimicked, or spoofed, to gain access to the network. When configured, an access point will only allow client access if the MAC address matches its MAC address configured in the authentication table.

Advanced Security

The more secured forms of security include WPAv1 or WPA2. The WPAv1 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security method, sometimes called WPA-personal, uses MIC (message integrity check) to ensure the integrity of messages, and TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) to enhance data encryption. TKIP uses the RC4 cipher with 128-bit keys for encryption and 64-bit keys for authentication. By encrypting data with a key that can be used only by the users, TKIP helps to ensure that only they can connect to the WLAN more securely. TKIP encryption can generate up to 280 trillion possible keys for a given data packet.

The WPA2 security method uses the more secure Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) cipher instead of the RC4 cipher used by WPA and WEP. Unlike WEP, which uses a key stream acting across a plaintext data input stream for encryption, AES encrypts bits in blocks of plaintext that are independently calculated. The AES standard specifies an AES block size of 128 bits with three possible key lengths 128, 192 and 256 bits. If you use older technologies it makes it that much easier for attackers to gain access to the network and data inside. Security algorithms such as WEP and WPAv1 can be cracked with readily available tools on the web.

Steps toward Better WLAN Security

So how do you best secure your wireless networks? The following suggestions can be the starting steps to helping you form a layer of security for your WLAN:

wireless securityUnique SSIDs and SSID Broadcast

Changing the SSID name may not seem important, but it helps prevent attackers from scanning for standard SSID names that vendors have for basic setup. A simple measure can also be taken to attempt to secure a wireless network by hiding the SSID from broadcasting to devices with wireless capabilities. This provides little protection against attackers but can avert casual intrusion methods.

Complex Passwords

Attackers can use cloud computing resources to test millions of passwords in minutes, so wireless password should be a considerable length and include special characters to make it harder for attackers to gain access. The more complex the password becomes, the harder it is for attackers to crack the password to gain access.

Authentications Strategy

You want to use the most secure and up-to-date authentication methods available such as WPA2. To prevent something like MAC address spoofing, you can set up MAC filtering to only allow authorized computers with the addresses you provide. If you are using WPA2-PSK you are using one of the most secure authentication methods available, but if you share the Pre-Shared Key with everyone, they may share it with others causing a security risk. Remember that any user, once authenticated, can see any of your network traffic. If an employee leaves the company, they may retain your network key—allowing them to later decrypt your traffic or access the network. For larger organizations it may be feasible to consider using a certificate-based authentication mechanism or server based authentication so that each user has their own managed credentials.

Manage Visitors and Restrict Traffic

If you are a business that needs to provide guest access, consider offering a separate network with restrictions on what guests can access. A hotspot registration portal can be an easy way to restrict access without a lot of administrative effort. Wireless solutions should enable you to easily deploy such networks, allowing visitors only access to the Internet and keeping them away from corporate services. There are also ways to separate their network traffic from your corporate network creating a VLAN (virtual LAN) when they are authenticated.

It should never be assumed that wireless networks are 100% secure. Those in regulated industries should consider additional monitoring techniques through IDS/IPS, NAC (Network Access Control) and log reviewing to ensure added layers of security and intrusion detection.

If you would like to know more about wireless and wireless security, contact your network security specialists at Network Center, Inc. today!

Contact NetWork Center, Inc. 

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobility, Security, Security Technologies

Increase Effectiveness of Your Web Presence Using Website Analytics

Posted by Joe Dunnigan on Sep 13, 2013 4:59:00 PM

Google Analytics screenshotIt is uncommon today to find a business that does not have some sort of web presence, whether it is a simple site with a few pages of information, an interactive site with many features, or a full online store. Having a website means that customers have another way to locate and contact you, find information about your products and services, and use or order those products and services. Providing this resource is very important, but how do you know your investment is effective and that you are reaching your audience the way you intended? One valuable tool that helps you answer these questions and reach these goals is website traffic analytics.

Website analytics involves gathering anonymous statistics regarding visitors to your website. The number of visitors, return visits, how long they stayed on the site, and which pages they visited are just some of the statistics that can be made available. With this data, you can begin to determine if your site is being found through search engines, if people are easily finding the information they need, and where improvements can be made to assist your users in navigating your site.

There are many reasons why you might want to implement website analytics. Evaluating an investment in a new or existing web presence, and determining additional money that should be spent on that presence rely heavily on proper data that can be gathered by implementing an analytics package. There are many analytics package offerings, with some of the most popular packages being offered as free services. Google Analytics is the most popular free offering, and integrates well with other Google services, such as Google AdWords and Google Webmaster Tools. With a little help from your web hosting company or web development team, you can have analytics added to your site and begin gathering data.

Once you have analytics up and running, you can begin to review data. Simple statistics such as number of visits in a month, return visits, and time spent on the site can help determine if you are getting a return on your value. Reviewing data on most visited pages can help you determine what content on your site is most valuable to users, which may drive decisions on where to concentrate time in content or navigation improvements. Using advanced tools, you can track clicks through your site, helping to ensure that often-viewed content can be accessed quickly and easily.

Website VisitsAnalytics data can also provide information on where your users are geographically and what devices they are using to access your site. If you find that a large percentage of your users are coming from a certain geographical area and accessing information specific to that region, you could assist by making it easier to access that content; for instance, placing a graphic or link on your home page that would direct users to the highly-viewed content on your site. If you find that an increasing number of users are accessing your site from mobile devices, you may look at increased investment in mobile-friendly site content, or possibly even a mobile app.

In addition to website analytics, companies providing analytics services are incorporating mobile app analytics into their offerings. Implementing mobile app analytics can help you track your app offerings from search, to download, to usage. If you're curious if a new feature you just implemented in your app was worth the cost, plugging in analytics could be a quick way to verify the investment.

The availability and ease of implementation for analytics packages makes it a wise investment for many organizations, with a quick return on investment. If you're curious about the effectiveness of your web presence, adding website analytics is an easy decision.

If you have questions about website analytics, please contact NetWork Center, Inc. for more information.

Contact NetWork Center, Inc. 

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobile App Development, Mobility, Website Analytics

Providing a Website for Mobile Devices

Posted by Joe Dunnigan on Jul 22, 2013 5:50:00 PM

make your site mobile friendlyIn today's mobile device-centric world, it is increasingly common for your customers to access your website from a mobile device. A quick check for account balance at a bank, reviewing a menu or specials at a restaurant, or directions to your office will often be checked from a phone while your customer is on the go. Providing your customers with quick, easy access to the information they need is important, but can take time to get right.

Many websites that have been around more than a year or two were built before mobile browsing was so commonplace, and may not account for these new browsing and information gathering trends. So, how do you update an existing website or create a new one that will serve both traditional PC users and mobile devices? There are a number of options available that can meet the needs of your organization and your customers.

Web technology continues to grow and change, and many of these technologies are being developed specifically to meet the needs of the mobile website developer. Developers have tools at their disposal now that allow a website to change its display depending on the type or size of the device the site is being viewed on. These tools enable a design approach called responsive web design. In a responsive web design, the layout of your site can change to bring important information into view quicker for a mobile user, while still retaining your normal site layout for standard web browsers.

responsive web designResponsive web design has quickly become a popular tool for developing new websites. Previously, it was common to provide a completely separate website for mobile users, with layout and content tailored to what the mobile user would be most likely to view on the site while on their phone or tablet. With the options provided by a responsive design, it will often be unnecessary to provide a separate site specifically for mobile users. This can ease time required to develop, update and maintain your web presence.

A responsive design will often be the best answer for developing a mobile-optimized site, but there will still be cases where you may require a separate and distinct mobile presence. E-commerce sites, for instance, may be better suited to a mobile version of the site that makes finding and purchasing products easier from a mobile device. Due to the complexity of a large e-commerce store offering, a responsive design may not be feasible, or may add development time that would not be required for a separate mobile-centric site.

mobile app developmentYet another option for reaching mobile customers is a mobile app. Responsive and mobile-specific websites can meet many needs, but specific use cases may warrant the need for an app. Mobile apps can also be a great marketing tool, increasing your company's visibility to another segment of your customer base. A mobile app can allow you to take advantage of advanced features on the client device, such as GPS, notifications, built-in mapping functions, and more. Providing a mobile app can provide great benefits for you customers, but can be costly and time consuming to produce, so your use cases and benefits should be closely examined before deciding to make the decision to move forward.

When updating an existing website or creating a fresh web presence, knowing what information your users are looking for, or what tasks they are performing on your site, is important to know. Analytics tools that monitor visits to your site will help you determine how many mobile users you are attracting to your site, what content they are viewing, and how they are getting there. With this information, you can bring the information and function they need quicker, through site organization, menu options, and other navigation techniques.

The mobile era is here, and keeping pace with these new technologies will help you to provide the value your customers expect. The advent of responsive design, mobile apps and in-depth analytics can help make your site a mobile friendly experience.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding your website, responsive design, or mobile apps. 

Contact NetWork Center, Inc.

Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobile App Development, Mobility

Managing Company Data on Employee Owned Devices

Posted by Joe Dunnigan on Jun 13, 2013 5:10:00 PM

MDMIn the continued drive to help businesses deal with employee-owned devices being used to connect to company resources, industry leaders have been debuting new products that provide solutions to the issues of securing and managing data and access.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is becoming very common in the workplace, allowing companies to manage devices that are given to employees, as well as secure data such as email and documents that are being accessed from employee-owned devices. Companies can track devices they own, securely distribute documents and company applications, set email and secure access configurations, and wipe sensitive data from any enrolled device if the device is lost or stolen.

New tools being offered by many of the top MDM solutions now allow complete separation of work and personal data. Employees are provided a secure application that loads company email and documents, and removes the ability to move data between this secure location and personal applications installed on the device. The interface maintains many similarities to existing mail and document applications, giving users a familiar experience. Early device support includes the iOS and Android platforms.

Device makers are also starting to offer solutions for separation of work and personal data. With the debut of the Blackberry Z10, Blackberry maker RIM introduced Balance, which provides a secure space for work files, email, corporate network access, and more. The use of Balance is transparent to the user, with minimal learning curve. RIM is also offering some features of this software for Android and iOS devices through their Blackberry Enterprise Server technologies.

mobile device managementSimilar to Balance, Samsung has recently introduced Knox, which aims to provide similar features to that of Blackberry Balance and MDM software. Samsung is also working with MDM software providers to ensure their Knox software will be compatible with investments businesses have already made in mobile device management software. In addition, the Department of Defense recently finished testing and approved Knox-enabled devices for use on DoD networks. This puts Samsung in the same space as Blackberry, which has enjoyed DoD approval for some time, along with iOS devices, which are seeing some approval and adoption in secure government usage.

Android maker Google has also implemented user profile support natively in their recent software updates. These features are most commonly available in Android tablets, allowing multiple user profiles to exist on a single device. These profiles can be used to separate work and personal data, as well as create separate areas for family members to keep individual apps, email, and other user data.

With the growing availability of options for managing company data on employee-owned devices, it is important to develop a policy that details how data will be secured, and to identify the technologies and products that will be used to achieve those goals. With so many options, it should be possible to find and implement the solution that fits your business needs!

If you have any questions regarding MDM, feel free to contact our NetWork Center, Inc. team. 

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Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobility, Mobile Device Management

Mobile Security 101

Posted by Tyler Voegele on May 17, 2013 5:04:00 PM

mobile device securityWhat is mobile security to you? You hear people talk about security on PCs and laptops, but what about the new wave of technology that is taking over the corporate world? Smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are becoming more prevalent and sometimes even our main communication tools. We plan, organize, work, and input all of our data on these devices as we do with PCs and laptops. We are moving to a mobile age, and may soon be working solely with mobile devices instead of our standard PCs and laptops.

What do you keep on your phone? How do you keep it secure? I’ll provide some statistics from Consumer Reports to give you a better idea of mobile security today. Over 39% of the more than 100 million Americans fail to take even minimal efforts to protect their smartphone and their data; 64% don't even have a simple screen lock, 69% do not back up data, 79% have yet to install an app to locate a missing phone, and 92% have not installed an app to remotely wipe data in case of loss or theft.

Most of us feel pretty comfortable in the fact that we take and keep our phones close by anywhere, but in the past year alone over 7.1 million smart phones were irreparably damaged, lost, or stolen and never recovered. Now that you've got a number to associate with the problem, imagine how much data you store on your phone. What could a malicious user possibly learn from you if your device was lost or stolen? Bank account transactions and passwords? Contact and location information? Personal emails and access to social mediums? We store about as much information as we do in our mobile devices, if not more, than our PCs or laptops. So now you may be asking what steps you should take to make sure your mobile devices are safe and secure.

Iphone5 Security Image

Create a secure password instead of using the default security locks on the phone.

It takes almost no effort at all to crack a 4 number password combination or other security measure on a smart phone. You need to make sure if you want to stay secure you'll need a stronger security lock password.

Stay cautious of mobile purchases when Wi-Fi is on.

When roaming with your Wi-Fi on your smart phone or mobile device, it will automatically connect with any Wi-Fi in range and without an encryption password. If you decide to use your phone while connected you could be vulnerable to other users on that network. Even worse, a malicious individual could host a wireless connection point and make "false" websites to most popular banking websites, Facebook, and other sites you may enter personal data in. Making sure you are connected to a secure and trustable Wi-Fi network is essential to your mobile security.

Keep your phone locked when you’re not using it.

This may seem like a no brainer, but many of us may often forget to lock our mobile devices and if someone picked it up the secure passcode would be useless.

Make sure you download apps that are reputable and watch for those that have been known to carry malware.

Malware is becoming a larger issue on mobile phones. Just like any other device, you can infect your mobile device just as simply as downloading an app with malicious code. With access to all of your data, passwords, and even location there is nothing a malicious individual couldn't find out. 30% of users using PCs and laptops have malicious programs or malware on them, and while 5% of mobile users doesn't seem like much, it is still cause for caution. A lot of antivirus and security companies are developing apps to protect your phone also.

Mobile security word cloudRemember to download any manufacturer’s updates to your device in a timely way.

When you download the latest updates for your devices you are protecting yourself from any vulnerabilities or bugs in the software that could be a security risk for you. Usually before you update it will often tell you what it is fixing in your mobile device.

Learn how to read and understand Terms of Service and Permission Agreement screens.

This is important when downloading applications onto your mobile device. What does this app do, what does it need to access on the phone, and why does it need to access the things it needs? These are all questions you should ask when agreeing to let the application use most of the services or data you have accompanied with your mobile device. You may be sharing more data with companies you use than you realize. Location tracking is a service that a lot of mobile apps use on your phone even if it isn't necessarily needed.

Only make financial transactions on secured sites.

This is also something that you probably already look for when using PCs and laptops, and just as important on your mobile device. It is much easier to make purchases from anywhere and anytime with our mobile devices, but using unsecured sites or malicious sites while roaming is always something you need to watch out for.

These are just a few scenarios you can look at to better secure yourself in the ever encompassing mobile world. There are applications out there that secure our devices and more and more are developed each day. If you would like additional information about mobile security in the corporate environment you can contact us at 1-800-723-5353. Talk to our representatives today and learn how you can keep your mobile life secure!

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Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobility, Mobile Device Management

Mobility in Today’s Business

Posted by Paul Dahlen on Feb 7, 2013 9:00:00 AM

Cisco Jabber Screen shotLife can be very hectic from time to time, not enabling us to always be in the office, or to be reached at times we really need to be. In today’s world, there are number of technologies that afford businesses to be just as efficient from outside the office, as inside the office. A few different vendors, Microsoft and Cisco, offer such solutions, and based on the needs of your business, one may suit you better than the other.

The advantage of these applications is that we now can be available when we really need to be, even when we are not in the office. Cisco Jabber or Microsoft Lync are two of these collaboration technologies that can turn your iPhone or Android device into a full-featured phone device, giving you the ability to place and receive calls, regardless of your geographic location. This ensures not only that the ship runs more efficiently, but business continuity is maintained, even when individuals are not in the office.


Microsoft LyncThese technologies allow you to view your colleague’s availability in real time from your cell phone or other mobile device. Through this, you can see status indicators showing if they are available, away from their desk, in a meeting or if they are presently on a call. Having this information allows you to make an informed decision on how to communicate with that person which will speed up the communication process. 

For example I if see that someone is in a meeting, calling them and leaving a VM (voice mail) might not be the best method to reach to that person, but starting an IM (instant message) might, thus allowing better and more efficient communication. Another example would be sick children, or a snow storm; a majority of us have been through this. If I needed to contact you at home I could simply dial your extension and be talking with you on your laptop/pc or cell phone/mobile device.

JabberUtilizing your personal office extension is an added benefit of placing calls to customers via these applications, which in turn ensures your availability using a single number, so regardless of where you are, or what device you are on, I dial a single number to get to you.

You may be thinking, I don’t want to be that accessible, and I can’t blame you for that. There are filters that can be put in place to ensure that every single person that calls your extension isn’t getting to your mobile device. You can also place schedules to allow calls between certain time periods, so you aren’t waking up at 3:30 in the morning when your cell rings.

Calls can also be moved from a Wi-Fi network to a cellular network and back without disconnect. Even receive and view your voicemail messages from these applications.

As I mentioned above, life CAN be hectic and at times we cannot always be in our seats in the office, but by implementing these types of technologies, everyone can breathe easier knowing their peers are a simple IM, or call away.

Contact an Account Representative at NetWork Center Inc. for more information today!

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Topics: Technology Solutions, NetWork Center Inc., Mobility

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